William Usher: "Game Journalists Are Anti-Consumer, Not Bethesda"

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Houseman:

starbear:

Who is claiming it is "your problem?"

Of course it isn't your problem. It isn't my problem either. How is "who's problem it is" related to my question?

I was implying that your question was irrelevant to the point.

Saying something "isn't your problem" is a pretty poor way of saying "your question is irrelevant to the point."

What "point" are you talking about?

Incorrect. The question was actually "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?" The word "narrative" was not used in that question.

If you're not talking about the narrative, then I guess you concede that point?

What point are you talking about?

It should be pretty obvious that in the context of the assertions I made when I first used the term "narrative" what I was refering too.

And I disagree with lumping together "advertisements" and "what 3rd parties say" as being part of "the narrative"

Why?

And it should be pretty obvious to you that when consumers make their decisions to purchase something they make those decisions based on the information that is available to them. And if the only information that is available to them is information from the primary source, then that information will be used by the consumer to help them decide whether or not they should buy.

And this would be a bad choice on the part of the consumer, to trust in such biased information.

My statement does not make nor attribute a value judgement. I'm just laying out the facts.

Your response to the question "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?" was "Their past experiences from the developer. Besides that, nothing." In light of your response now: do you agree that "nothing" isn't really true?

Also, consumers have the option not to trust in, or even expose themselves to, this information at all. You're saying that they "will" use this information, which is not necessarily true.

Which is why the distinction between "marketing" and "advertising" is important. Because it is relatively easy to insulate yourself from an advertisement. But it isn't so easy to insulate yourself from a marketing campaign: especially if you are the target market.

For the record: I have defined the words that I used. I posted wikipedia definitions of those words

You defining a word =/= Wikipedia defining a word.

Of course it does. I choose to define it exactly the same as wikipedia chooses to define it.

You haven't explained why there is no difference between "marketing" and "advertising."

Did you ask me to?

Still trying to control the narrative. :D

You would be welcome in the marketing departments of many game publishers.

Why don't you explain why there is no difference between "marketing" and "advertising?"

Honestly the people who genuinely think that Bethesdas stunt was some sort of 'fuck you' to Games Journalism are stupid as shit.

Bethesda pulling this move literally only hurts the consumers. They did it, because they wanted easy, lazy millions before people realized that they spent $60 once again on a steaming pile of coding shit that bricks faster than some of the worst shovel ware Nintendo Wii had to offer.

Whether or not some sites hyped it or not doesn't matter. Whether you disagree with Polygon making SJW opinion pieces or Kotaku making stupid 'snaktaku' posts doesn't matter. You, the consumer have been cheated out of reviews weeks out in advance, and if you preorered? Well your shit out of luck aren't you?
These sites cannot begin to care because they STILL get a free review copy the day before release anyway. So how is this a blow against game journalism?

And in their place who can you rely on? Youtubers? EA doesn't have to pay nearly as much to get them peddling their shit with 10/10's. All they have to do is promise to give them enough money to pay for next months rent or a Nintendo 3DS game and they dance for them like little video monkeys.

I mean, come on now. Are we that desperate- that delusional about this whole war against video game journalism that we are ready to willingly blind ourselves into thinking that this whole stunt benefits us in anyway?

Houseman:

The journalists are supposed to be the ones providing consumers with information. They still can, but they'll actually have to buy the game now, at least from Bethesda. I still don't see the problem.

There is literally no other entertainment medium I can think of where an officially recognized reviewer HAS to actually purchase a product in order to review it.

The fact that your okay with that because 'gaemz jurnalizm' highlights how trendy being 'pro consumer' is until it hurts people you don't actually like.
Which in that case gaming sites will simply only review/purchase games that they know they will have a good time with. Which means that wild card or unknown games will hardly ever get reviewed.

Which ironically enough will make them more biased and played into the hands of publishers because why spend money to review a product your going to hate right?

This also blatantly stifles any upcoming and rising gaming sites and journalists that rely on companies giving them free review copies because not every gaming site business can afford to shell out $35-60 for every single game that comes out every month for a whole year. So the end result will be lesser sites shut down and the only sites your gonna have running are the big dogs over at Polygon, Kotaku, IGN, Gamespot, and Destructoid.

I mean come on.

starbear:

What "point" are you talking about?

Your point that companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews.

What point are you talking about?

Your point that companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews.

Why?

Because 1st parties are expected to say positive things about their products. This is a given. It does not reflect the general sentiment expressed towards the product. This "general sentiment" is what I see as "the narrative".

You can't create "general sentiment" just by speaking favorably about yourself.

Your response to the question "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?" was "Their past experiences from the developer. Besides that, nothing." In light of your response now: do you agree that "nothing" isn't really true?

No, because you cannot "rely upon" anything a publisher or developer says about themselves or their game.

Why don't you explain why there is no difference between "marketing" and "advertising?"

I didn't say that there "is no difference...", I said that I don't see a difference.

Dragonbums:

There is literally no other entertainment medium I can think of where an officially recognized reviewer HAS to actually purchase a product in order to review it.

As nomotog pointed out, Bethesda is still giving away free review copies one day before release. I was wrong to say otherwise.

The fact that your okay with that because 'gaemz jurnalizm' highlights how trendy being 'pro consumer' is until it hurts people you don't actually like.

I never said I was "okay with it because gaemz jurnalizm", or even that I was "okay with it".

For the record, I personally am, because I hardly ever buy games at launch and don't care about having to wait a few weeks before reading a review. If I'm buying a game at launch to begin with, I'm probably already sold for one reason or another, and wouldn't even read a review anyway.

This also blatantly stifles any upcoming and rising gaming sites and journalists that rely on companies giving them free review copies

Chances are, those "upcoming and rising gaming sites" don't receive review copies anyway, because of how small of an impact they have. It's not like anyone with a blog can get free games just for the asking.

Houseman:

starbear:

What "point" are you talking about?

Your point that companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews.

How did that question not relate to this point?

What point are you talking about?

Your point that companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews.

And this is true. I'm both not conceding the point, and, as the person who introduced the word "narrative" to this thread, am not changing how I choose to define it.

Why?

Because 1st parties are expected to say positive things about their products. This is a given. It does not reflect the general sentiment expressed towards the product.

Of course they are expected to say positive things about themselves. Why do you think game reviewers and many consumers think the decisions made by EA and Bethesda are bad for consumers?

This "general sentiment" is what I see as "the narrative".

In the absence of 3rd parties: how does this "general sentiment" get created?

You can't create "general sentiment" just by speaking favorably about yourself.

Why not?

Your response to the question "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?" was "Their past experiences from the developer. Besides that, nothing." In light of your response now: do you agree that "nothing" isn't really true?

No, because you cannot "rely upon" anything a publisher or developer says about themselves or their game.

What else can they rely upon?

Why don't you explain why there is no difference between "marketing" and "advertising?"

I didn't say that there "is no difference...", I said that I don't see a difference.

What difference don't you see?

starbear:

How did that question not relate to this point?

Because what, if anything, people have to rely on in the absense of a narrative has nothing to do with whether or not a narrative exists, or is being controlled.

In the absence of 3rd parties: how does this "general sentiment" get created?

It doesn't.

Why not?

Because "general sentiment" comes from what other people say and feel about you, not what you say and feel about yourself. That's kind of inherent to the combination of the words "general" and "sentiment".

What else can they rely upon?

I thought I already answered this question with "Nothing, except their past experiences with the developer".

What difference don't you see?

I can't tell you what it is that I don't see. Unknown unknowns, and all that.

Houseman:

altnameJag:
Read the first part of what you quoted.

Read everything else I've posted that you didn't quote.

I read everything, and I still don't see any convincing arguments that aren't already refuted by pointing out that "it's a privilege".

Do you have anything that overcomes this refutation?

Videogames are a privilege, therefore people complaining about censorship can fuck right off.

I mean, if we want to pretend "it's a privilege" is a refutation of anything.

Houseman:

starbear:

How did that question not relate to this point?

Because what, if anything, people have to rely on in the absense of a narrative has nothing to do with whether or not a narrative exists, or is being controlled.

The question was "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?"

That question does relate to "companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews". In the absence of 3rd parties: the only thing that people have in order to make a purchasing decision is the information presented by the gaming companies. This is not in dispute. This is undeniable fact.

In the absence of 3rd parties: how does this "general sentiment" get created?

It doesn't.

So no general sentiment existed at all towards the Skyrim Special Edition at the time of launch? Really? That is the position you hold?

Why not?

Because "general sentiment" comes from what other people say and feel about you, not what you say and feel about yourself. That's kind of inherent to the combination of the words "general" and "sentiment".

Even after I've posted clear definitions of the word "marketing" you still don't seem to understand what marketing is. Game companies have marketing departments. The job of the marketing department is to drive sales, and one of the ways they do this is to "speak favourably" about their products. They present them in a fantastic light. They hide the flaws.

Prior to the launch of "No Mans Sky", what was the general sentiment towards the game? What caused the extraordinarily large sales when it did get released?

And why did the general sentiment towards "No Mans Sky" change after the game was released, people started playing it and the reviews came out?

What else can they rely upon?

I thought I already answered this question with "Nothing, except their past experiences with the developer".

Is this answer "the way you see it at the moment" or "The way you wish that it was?"

Consumers used to be able to make purchasing decisions at launch by relying on the reviewers they trusted and the reviews they posted prior to launch. This is changing. Is this change good for consumers or bad for consumers?

What difference don't you see?

I can't tell you what it is that I don't see. Unknown unknowns, and all that.

So what are you disagreeing with me about then? Marketing and advertising are two different words that describe two different things. And when I mentioned marketing on the other page, I was talking about marketing, not advertising. Why did you want me to start defining my words?

altnameJag:

Videogames are a privilege, therefore people complaining about censorship can fuck right off.

I mean, if we want to pretend "it's a privilege" is a refutation of anything.

So you're making an analogy between censorship and early reviews?

Okay then. If this is your argument, could you explain how video games are to censorship as early reviews are to anti-consumer practices? I'm not seeing the comparison. All you've done is used the word "privilege" in the context of two different things.

starbear:

The question was "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?"

That question does relate to "companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews". In the absence of 3rd parties: the only thing that people have in order to make a purchasing decision is the information presented by the gaming companies. This is not in dispute. This is undeniable fact.

The only information about a game, before it's release, must come from the company selling the game in this scenario. I still don't see how this is relevant.

So no general sentiment existed at all towards the Skyrim Special Edition at the time of launch? Really? That is the position you hold?

This would be an example of "previous experiences with the developers", as I mentioned. If a sentiment existed about this game prior to launch, it would have had to be based on the original Skyrim.

Even after I've posted clear definitions of the word "marketing" you still don't seem to understand what marketing is. Game companies have marketing departments. The job of the marketing department is to drive sales, and one of the ways they do this is to "speak favourably" about their products. They present them in a fantastic light. They hide the flaws.

Advertisements also speak favorably about their products and present them in a fantastic light. What's the difference?

Prior to the launch of "No Mans Sky", what was the general sentiment towards the game? What caused the extraordinarily large sales when it did get released?

I don't know, I was never interested in it, and thus, didn't follow anything about it. Did a "general sentiment" even exist?

And why did the general sentiment towards "No Mans Sky" change after the game was released, people started playing it and the reviews came out?

I don't know whether or not a sentiment even existed, so I can't answer this question.

Is this answer "the way you see it at the moment" or "The way you wish that it was?"

"The way I see it at the moment".

Consumers used to be able to make purchasing decisions at launch by relying on the reviewers they trusted and the reviews they posted prior to launch. This is changing. Is this change good for consumers or bad for consumers?

Time will tell.

So what are you disagreeing with me about then?

That there's a relevant and important difference between marketing and advertising in this context.

Houseman:

starbear:

The question was "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?"

That question does relate to "companies "control the narrative" by preventing early reviews". In the absence of 3rd parties: the only thing that people have in order to make a purchasing decision is the information presented by the gaming companies. This is not in dispute. This is undeniable fact.

The only information about a game, before it's release, must come from the company selling the game in this scenario. I still don't see how this is relevant.

So you agree with me. But you don't see the relevance. Gotcha.

So no general sentiment existed at all towards the Skyrim Special Edition at the time of launch? Really? That is the position you hold?

This would be an example of "previous experiences with the developers", as I mentioned. If a sentiment existed about this game prior to launch, it would have had to be based on the original Skyrim.

But you don't know how big this sample size is. When I asked you "How many video game consumers even know who develops the game?" your answer was "I don't know."

So how can you possibly assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim Special edition was driven solely by "previous experiences with developers" when you don't know how many "consumers know who the developers of Skyrim" are? Do you think the only people interested in Skyrim were previous buyers of Skyrim?

Even after I've posted clear definitions of the word "marketing" you still don't seem to understand what marketing is. Game companies have marketing departments. The job of the marketing department is to drive sales, and one of the ways they do this is to "speak favourably" about their products. They present them in a fantastic light. They hide the flaws.

Advertisements also speak favorably about their products and present them in a fantastic light. What's the difference?

Of course they do. Advertisements are part of marketing. You should know that by now. I've posted the definitions.

Prior to the launch of "No Mans Sky", what was the general sentiment towards the game? What caused the extraordinarily large sales when it did get released?

I don't know, I was never interested in it, and thus, didn't follow anything about it. Did a "general sentiment" even exist?

Wow.

Okay. I do have to apologise.

I had assumed that, since you were passionately debating games companies and games journalists in a forum specifically set up for discussing the games industry that you would have had a cursory knowledge of the biggest gaming story of the year. But apparently not.

And why did the general sentiment towards "No Mans Sky" change after the game was released, people started playing it and the reviews came out?

I don't know whether or not a sentiment even existed, so I can't answer this question.

Well that's okay. You could google it I suppose. But you don't really seem to be that interested in gaming, so why bother?

Is this answer "the way you see it at the moment" or "The way you wish that it was?"

"The way I see it at the moment".

Then you are seeing it wrong.

Consumers used to be able to make purchasing decisions at launch by relying on the reviewers they trusted and the reviews they posted prior to launch. This is changing. Is this change good for consumers or bad for consumers?

Time will tell.

What do you think time will change?

So what are you disagreeing with me about then?

That there's a relevant and important difference between marketing and advertising in this context.

In your opinion, why wasn't there a difference, in the context that I used it?

starbear:

So you agree with me. But you don't see the relevance. Gotcha.

I agree that "The only information about a game, before it's release, must come from the company selling the game in this scenario", not that "consumers only have a company's word to rely on...", or that "companies control the narrative by not permitting reviews". Just want to make sure we're clear.

But you don't know how big this sample size is. When I asked you "How many video game consumers even know who develops the game?" your answer was "I don't know."

So how can you possibly assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim Special edition was driven solely by "previous experiences with developers" when you don't know how many "consumers know who the developers of Skyrim" are? Do you think the only people interested in Skyrim were previous buyers of Skyrim?

Correct, I do not know how big the sample size is.

I can assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim Special edition was driven solely by "previous experience" because previous experience is the only basis upon which a sentiment could have emerged from, seeing as there was a lack of pre-review copies.

I don't see how the number of consumers knowledgeable about the developers of Skyrim is relevant here. Those who weren't knowledgeable didn't create sentiment, but those who were, did.

Of course they do. Advertisements are part of marketing. You should know that by now. I've posted the definitions.

You didn't point out the difference, so I still remain unconvinced that one exists. I'll ignore anything further about the tangent of "advertising vs marketing" until you explain the difference.

What do you think time will change?

I don't think time will change anything. I think time will reveal whether or not this was a good or bad decision, either for Bethesda, or for consumers.

In case you're unaware, "Time will tell" means "we will see how it turns out in the future". This idiom has nothing to do with anything changing. It's mostly used in reference to the unseen outcome of a change that already happened.

Houseman:

starbear:

So you agree with me. But you don't see the relevance. Gotcha.

I agree that "The only information about a game, before it's release, must come from the company selling the game in this scenario", not that "consumers only have a company's word to rely on...", or that "companies control the narrative by not permitting reviews". Just want to make sure we're clear.

Consumers have the information that the company selling the information has released.

Consumers also may have pre-knowledge of who developed the game.

So that is two things, not one thing, that consumers might use to make a purchasing decision, correct?

But you don't know how big this sample size is. When I asked you "How many video game consumers even know who develops the game?" your answer was "I don't know."

So how can you possibly assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim Special edition was driven solely by "previous experiences with developers" when you don't know how many "consumers know who the developers of Skyrim" are? Do you think the only people interested in Skyrim were previous buyers of Skyrim?

Correct, I do not know how big the sample size is.

I can assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim Special edition was driven solely by "previous experience" because previous experience is the only basis upon which a sentiment could have emerged from, seeing as there was a lack of pre-review copies.

So Bethesda didn't make an announcement back in June this year that they were remastering Skyrim? That trailer they released at E3, that didn't actually happen?

You assert that the general sentiment pre-launch to Skyrim remastered was driven solely by previous experience with the publishers. I see no evidence that this is true: I've asked you to provide some evidence (how many consumers are we talking about) and your answer was "I don't know."

If what you assert were true then you are on the fast-track to being a millionaire. Go pick up the phone and start calling Bethesda and EA and Ubisoft and tell them "they are doing their marketing wrong." No need to go to E3 or make games trailers or even worry about when a review comes out. And to think that the gaming industry is going to be saved by someone who didn't even know what the "No Mans Sky" controversy was all about.

I don't see how the number of consumers knowledgeable about the developers of Skyrim is relevant here. Those who weren't knowledgeable didn't create sentiment, but those who were, did.

Its relevant because you are asserting that consumers knowledgeable about the developers of Skyrim is the ONLY thing that created general sentiment. I think that assertion is so wildly out of whack I think you should back it up. But you can't back it up. You don't know the numbers.

Of course they do. Advertisements are part of marketing. You should know that by now. I've posted the definitions.

You didn't point out the difference, so I still remain unconvinced that one exists. I'll ignore anything further about the tangent of "advertising vs marketing" until you explain the difference.

You do realize that your previous response was a non-sequitur right? I said this:

"Even after I've posted clear definitions of the word "marketing" you still don't seem to understand what marketing is. Game companies have marketing departments. The job of the marketing department is to drive sales, and one of the ways they do this is to "speak favourably" about their products. They present them in a fantastic light. They hide the flaws."

Your response was "Advertisements also speak favorably about their products and present them in a fantastic light. What's the difference?"

My first initial response to that sentence was going to be "WTF? What are you actually responding too? Did you not read my sentence correctly?" Where in that paragraph that you responded to did I claim advertisements didn't speak favorably about their products and present them in a fantastic light? I didn't mention advertisements in that paragraph at all. There was no "difference" to be explained.

And I'm not particularly worried about your "threat" to not respond in the future regarding this point. Don't think I haven't noticed you haven't been responding to a number of the points or questions I have asked you. I'm taking each point or question you choose not to respond to as a concession: and if you don't respond to this one I'll take it as yet another one.

What do you think time will change?

I don't think time will change anything. I think time will reveal whether or not this was a good or bad decision, either for Bethesda, or for consumers.

In case you're unaware, "Time will tell" means "we will see how it turns out in the future". This idiom has nothing to do with anything changing. It's mostly used in reference to the unseen outcome of a change that already happened.

I'm well aware of what "time will tell" means. Which is why I asked the question. What is going to change in the future that isn't directly applicable now? Why do we have to wait when examples like No Mans Sky have already happened that explicitly show that this change has been bad for the consumer?

Fat Hippo:

runic knight:
SNIP

Well, your post is better thought out and more persuasive than the article we are discussing, so that's something! My compliments.

I do agree with your point that, particularly from the consumer's perspective, the truthfulness of the media is more important than that of a publisher, since lying completely destroys the media's value, while only tarnishing that of a publisher.

However, one part I would perhaps criticize, though I don't know your exact position on it, is the implication that the games media was ever able to their job to the level you would hold them to:

They, above all other players, are there to inform accurately and the failure to do that, the blind repetition of marketing spin and promotional hype, is what created the environment that encouraged and then took advantage of the preorder. They failed to hold companies accountable or to call it out. They failed to side with consumers who were calling it out. Hell, this is a big part of the reason that youtube reviewers and other non-journalist reviews jumped in popularity in the first place, as more realized how their audience demand for accurate and relevant information was not being meet by the people who were suppose to meet it.

By the very nature of their relationship, what we call "games journalism" has always been enthusiast press rather than the kind of journalism that would involve actual investigations. Prior to release, the only thing they could do was take what a publisher handed them and then decide how to present it. As you point out, this rarely lead to the kind of criticism or skepticism that would have been warranted, but given the uneven power dynamic that was hardly to be expected. And from my point of view, this underlying cause hasn't changed in the slightest.

You may disagree, but from my perspective, the new "youtube" style of reviewer is in no way more trustworthy than the traditional games press ever was. Why? They are still subject to the same power structures that have existed ever since people started writing about video games. The publishers simply have far more leverage, and that isn't going to change. Reviewers still have the same incentives to present the games shown to them in a positive light. Nothing has really changed, even if people fool themselves into thinking that an individual talking into a camera is more truthful than the anonymous collections of writers we knew previously. The consumer's ability to inform himself before his purchase (assuming he pre-orders) is just as bad as it has ever been.

And this is the cause of my insistence that if we hold a developer to some kind of high standard, then if he tries to get customers to pre-order, he should distribute early review copies to help prevent the kind of deception that has happened in the past. It is pointless to discuss whether he MUST do this, since no can force him: I just think it's a shitty thing to do, and it will color my judgment.

Of course, you could say the root of this problem still stems from the individuals that buy into the marketing hype time and time again (e.g. the people who pre-ordered No Man's Sky) somehow forgetting all of the times they've been lied to in the past. But I've given up on trying to improve people as a whole. I'd rather we institute good practices that protect them from their own bad decision-making.

Thank you for the kind words, sadly a bit rare to hold a discussion instead of an argument around here, rather surprised I seem to be holding two at once presently. I will say in the articles defense though, I've said a lot more in a lot larger space covering broader scope, and it seemed he wanted to condense things into a shorter point with more time spent on solid examples. He might not have done that well, but I still see the attempt and the point behind it worthwhile.

On the topic of game journalism, yes it certainly is heavily based on enthusiastic press, to say nothing of the roots in being a PR method too. A lot of earlier gaming magazines were created by companies just to market after all. The problem is that they intermingled and fused over the years to became the gaming press, and openly claim to be journalists now as opposed to simply enthusiastic fans, or actively broadcasting they are an arm of the corporate marketing. They claimed the status of journalist, and openly leveraged that title to get interviews, product access, show invites and yes, also early review copies, but then turn around and try to not be held accountable to the expectations of their position as a journalist, many times by downplaying they are or claiming they are only bloggers when called out.

While you are right that youtubers have no more reason to be trustworthy then anyone else, and unlike journalists, also lack the ethical requirement binding them, I do not think many of the larger reviewers on youtube are less trustworthy then the gaming media. They are the current enthusiast press now that the old version of that evolved into the current gaming press. But many of them actively put more effort into being ethical then the press itself, which is a sign of the larger problem I think. It may well be because of the distance between them and publishers that allows them to concentrate more on what the audience wants to know rather then on promoting what the publishers want broadcast. Many do not get review copies, and some are actively blacklisted because of bad reviews before, and the result of that distance is reviewing that caters more toward the interests and expectations of the audience itself. Essentially, filling the niche that the gaming journalists (who's job it is to fill) are failing to fill. But their individual track records demonstrate their trustworthiness, and while not a perfect method, it has become a stopgap at a time where the "real" gaming press seems to have abandoned consumers if the developers snap their fingers. I think the press should be fixed though so there doesn't need to be so much trust on youtubers to do the job and they can be more like the bloggers many started as.

I do wholly agree that if a company is trying to get preorders, they should send out early review copies. But I can not help but see a glaring issue with trying to hold companies accountable when the expected watchdogs of them, the representatives of the interest of the consumers for reliable and accurate information, are instead aiding the deceptions and underhanded tactics. It would be very hard to hold anyone accountable for wrongdoing with a media actively spinning things and attacking those trying to do so. The gaming media's hands are very dirty on that account, as numerous controversies display the media siding with the publishers against the consumers. It is little wonder that backlash against the media for such efforts to undermine consumer complaints and concerns has grown over the years.

So to that end, I think you are right in wanting to institute good practices, I just see it as too difficult to try to do so when there is an interfering party who was expected to be representing consumer interest and holding the companies accountable in the first place. Unless they do, no effort to hold them accountable will go far. It will simply be dismissed as "entitled". Press needs to be fixed in order to accurately and reliably inform the public about such behaviors so that the consumers can hold the companies accountable before they waste their money.

Wrex Brogan:

...well, I did, but in a part he didn't quote, which was the whole 'Publishers can decide who gets to eat' thing. Hell, there's a reason I'm not the biggest fan of places like Kotaku and Polygon, since they've often given the soft-play when it comes to reviewing things and will only go harsh on something if the general opinion is 'this is garbage' - though, I will say, people often underestimate the pressure publishers are able to put on places like those anyway, and as idealistic as it is to believe that journalists are some Noble Souls who Will Resist All Corruption, being able to a) keep your job and b) being able to eat are very important things that can stop you questioning why your boss slapped a bag of money on your desk with an EA label on it. Add in things like Reviewer Events, Reviewer Workshops, Publisher PR events focusing on manipulating Reviewers, Press Events where reviewers get goodie bags or get to shake hands with the developers... even the much beloved Jim (motherfucking) Sterling has commented on how influential those events can be even on reviewers conscious of the shit going down. It's hard to give a game an accurate review when you're playing it in some cramped arena with 50 other people, all the while the Devs and PR people are crowing over your shoulders about how awesome things are.

Now, this isn't to say that Games Journalists can't be held accountable for drinking too deeply from the Publishers Goblet - I think we all remember the whole 'Halo 4 Mountain Dew and Doritos' thing quite... 'fondly' - but personally, damn near all the blame lies with publishers trying their hardest to fuck over consumers as hard as they possibly can. Hell, even the fresh and new Youtube Reviewers and non-journalist sources are just as susceptible to the Publishers Goblet, 'specially considering how much of a Youtubers income is tied into advertising revenue to begin with. I can safely say if I was some Youtube Reviewer and a publisher said 'hey, here's 5 grand, say nice things about my game' I'd take 'em up on it, since they could just as easily turn around and claim all advertisement revenue off my show anyway. Honesty's good and all, but motherfucker I need to eat.

To use your Fox/Dog analogy - yes, it's all well and good to expect more from the dog and to try and train the dog to be better, but fuck is it hard to do when some bastard keeps pelting the dog with chicken giblets or throwing foxes into the coop while our back is turned. Some of us might think to focus on training the dog, some of us might think to go after the guy with a shovel - what can be said, though, is that bringing in a new dog just means he's got more shit to throw chicken at. The bastard.

Ah, Dorito Pope. If only we had stopped the train then...

Now you make great points here, don't get me wrong. The publishers are oftentimes some really shaddy assholes trying to manipulate everyone in order to sell the product. I don't disagree with that at all. I do, however, think that the media needs to be cleaned first, and hardest. You said yourself, there is a lot of ways larger publishers can pressure them and influence them in a myriad of tactics. Financial incentive, fringe benefits, selective training, threats, punishment... Every method of carrot or stick to get them to do what they want. But their very job exists to be resistant to that. The ethical standards of journalism are designed to help prevent that when it is followed. The resistance to such tactics to instead represent the interests of the audience in getting accurate and reliable information is the very point of the profession being respected in the first place. They are there not to be bloggers, not to politically stump, and not to make clickbait garbage, but to inform the consumers on the topic, and do so with accuracy, reliability and integrity. If they can not, they should not call themselves journalists, and should not be treated or seen as such. They can go back to youtube with the rest of the bloggers and individually earn their reputations instead of representing publications that are seen as the press.

And you are right, most youtubers would sell out in a hurry. Though doing so will hurt their reputation, often irreversibly, and that is the sole point they have to sell themselves on. There is a reason why larger names are seen as having more integrity than games journalists nowadays.

But as I said before, regardless how intent and malicious the publishers may be, their purpose is to provide a product and at the end of the day, they do. There purpose is not to inform accurately or honestly, and some openly abuse that it is no in order to sell garbage as they can. It is up to the consumers to be informed, and by extension, up to the gaming press to inform them. I can see no other way to tackle the problems publishers cause without first having an honest and relevant gaming press researching, investigating, and being the watchdogs of consumer interests they are suppose to be. Anything less would be abused, as it currently is, to misinform, divide, and attack consumers.

I would love for the gaming publishers immoral antics to be called out and clamped down on, but unless the information is accurately and reliably spread, they wont be. To that end, separation between press and publisher would have to be the first step to decrease the control over them. That may well need to include the privileges the press has enjoyed thus far in early releases and review copies, especially when the threat of having those removed is seen as so damning to the press in the first place. They have let things like early reviews and early review exclusivity help create the culture in the gaming world that fosters pre-orders and contributes to the publishers getting away with anti-consumer practices. Reversing that could be a good start in my eyes.

runic knight:

Ah, Dorito Pope. If only we had stopped the train then...

Now you make great points here, don't get me wrong. The publishers are oftentimes some really shaddy assholes trying to manipulate everyone in order to sell the product. I don't disagree with that at all. I do, however, think that the media needs to be cleaned first, and hardest. You said yourself, there is a lot of ways larger publishers can pressure them and influence them in a myriad of tactics. Financial incentive, fringe benefits, selective training, threats, punishment... Every method of carrot or stick to get them to do what they want. But their very job exists to be resistant to that. The ethical standards of journalism are designed to help prevent that when it is followed. The resistance to such tactics to instead represent the interests of the audience in getting accurate and reliable information is the very point of the profession being respected in the first place. They are there not to be bloggers, not to politically stump, and not to make clickbait garbage, but to inform the consumers on the topic, and do so with accuracy, reliability and integrity. If they can not, they should not call themselves journalists, and should not be treated or seen as such. They can go back to youtube with the rest of the bloggers and individually earn their reputations instead of representing publications that are seen as the press.

And you are right, most youtubers would sell out in a hurry. Though doing so will hurt their reputation, often irreversibly, and that is the sole point they have to sell themselves on. There is a reason why larger names are seen as having more integrity than games journalists nowadays.

But as I said before, regardless how intent and malicious the publishers may be, their purpose is to provide a product and at the end of the day, they do. There purpose is not to inform accurately or honestly, and some openly abuse that it is no in order to sell garbage as they can. It is up to the consumers to be informed, and by extension, up to the gaming press to inform them. I can see no other way to tackle the problems publishers cause without first having an honest and relevant gaming press researching, investigating, and being the watchdogs of consumer interests they are suppose to be. Anything less would be abused, as it currently is, to misinform, divide, and attack consumers.

I would love for the gaming publishers immoral antics to be called out and clamped down on, but unless the information is accurately and reliably spread, they wont be. To that end, separation between press and publisher would have to be the first step to decrease the control over them. That may well need to include the privileges the press has enjoyed thus far in early releases and review copies, especially when the threat of having those removed is seen as so damning to the press in the first place. They have let things like early reviews and early review exclusivity help create the culture in the gaming world that fosters pre-orders and contributes to the publishers getting away with anti-consumer practices. Reversing that could be a good start in my eyes.

...huh, you know, I can't really remember the last time I've had an internet discussion that basically boils down to 'I agree with you, I just focus on this part instead of this part'. I can definitely see where your coming from and share the desire for better games journalism (and thankfully it has improved since the era of DoritoPope, despite concerns - I don't recall seeing much positivity for Square Enix's latest bullshit of slapping Microtransactions into Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and a lot of hostility based on the fact it was actively hidden in review copies so reviewers would give it a higher score than they would have knowing the microtransactions were in there), and having them as a guaranteed support against publisher bullshit would be good, I still feel that if gamers pushed harder against publishers we'd gain more ground. Either way works, really, since enough gamers calling publishers on their shit would probably get more journalists on our side anyway.

...now I feel we should start trading insults or something before the forum implodes. This place wasn't built for agreement, I feel, at least given the shit-flinging I've se- well, ok, the shit-flinging going on in this very thread. Goodness.

Wrex Brogan:

...huh, you know, I can't really remember the last time I've had an internet discussion that basically boils down to 'I agree with you, I just focus on this part instead of this part'. I can definitely see where your coming from and share the desire for better games journalism (and thankfully it has improved since the era of DoritoPope, despite concerns - I don't recall seeing much positivity for Square Enix's latest bullshit of slapping Microtransactions into Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and a lot of hostility based on the fact it was actively hidden in review copies so reviewers would give it a higher score than they would have knowing the microtransactions were in there), and having them as a guaranteed support against publisher bullshit would be good, I still feel that if gamers pushed harder against publishers we'd gain more ground. Either way works, really, since enough gamers calling publishers on their shit would probably get more journalists on our side anyway.

...now I feel we should start trading insults or something before the forum implodes. This place wasn't built for agreement, I feel, at least given the shit-flinging I've se- well, ok, the shit-flinging going on in this very thread. Goodness.

I am often an argumentative and even pedantic individual, but most of my disagreements with people tend to be about where things should be focused and which is more important to look at first rather than any animosity or dislike of them or their ideas. Least, when not arguing about gamergate anyways. That topic is just too much of a mess and too emotional for people.

I am less hopeful about things improving though to be honest. I see it less improved, just more ignored or distracted from. We still have things like the ME3 ending controversy pop up, or the Bethesda paid mods thing where the press is not as much on the side of the consumers. And while people pushing back is what leads to press changing tune, I think that they come to bat for the publisher behaviors initially shows the true loyalties of their heart, so to speak, and it is less getting journalists on the side of consumers so much as journalists trying to save some face so they can still effectively shill for the companies later on. Like members of a political party denouncing one of their own only after it is known the damage is inevitable, and then turning around and playing ball with them again after the fires have been put out.

It occurs that the Incensed Opinion about the "anti-consumerism" of this move is very much like denouncing the Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy for "attacking France!"

It's time to face the simple fact that the the esteemed Press is, from the point of view of the gaming enthusiast, pretty much enemy-occupied territory these days. Even when it's not openly declaring their "death" (which, never forget, they gleefully did en masse from what they believed was a safe eminence), it's insidiously seeking to manipulate their habits and preferences ("Surely You're Not The Kind of DudeBro Moron Who Enjoys Lowbrow Shit Like Gameplay?") to suit their aspirations, trying to regiment them into a following for various talent-free cronies and intimates. And hey, it did work for a considerable number of apparently deeply insecure people, desperate to feel Moar Smarter than the mere plebs who dare sully their cultural pursuits by sharing them. Hence the brief vogue for the "I don't feel insulted by crass stereotyping as a troglodytic menace, because I don't identify as a gamer" credo.

And talk about "lying about GamerGate"... these people actually created "the GamerGate movement", insofar as such a thing exists, by aggressively banishing anyone with a well-founded objection to their corrupt shenanigans and helpfully labelling those outcasts as such a "group". Which they then went on to sell to the mainstream media as a "faceless" collective supervillain of imaginary properties to scapegoat for, well, anything that came to mind really. The price for the entrenched hostilities that we're currently enjoying in the "gaming community" was of course a temporary surge of clicks on the embedded advertising at the gaming wings of outrage mills like Gawker Media. Such "pro-consumering"! To quote one Homer J. Simpson, "Judas betrayed Jesus, but he still got paid!"

The bottom line here is that while it would be a mighty stretch to believe Bethesda are intentionally benefiting the general consumer with this policy, for the time being it is in fact objectively a win for the consumer to undermine the throne of the Media tyrant, so abundantly proven hostile. You don't analyze a dynamic using the ideal functions of an actor such as "games media", but the actual ones. That's just the Stockholm Syndrome evoking these tender feelings for the media that's holding the gamer hostage. The loss of a timely guide to the quality of new releases is indeed a loss... but in reality, a reliable one hardly existed, so it can't be a very sizeable loss. And it would be more than balanced out by the eventual liberation of the games media from the kind of corrupt types who were drawn to it by the promise of power to divide and rule, rather than any abiding affection for the medium. When such a correction occurs, it will be time to re-empower the media.

Speaking of empowerment, isn't it time for all the passionately pro-consumer folks who are passively mourning this sad loss of Journo privilege to shake off the tears and recognize that we as consumers are not in fact literally held captive by the despotism of the Release Window, but are in fact perfectly capable of delaying purchase until we can be assured of the quality of the product? The thrill of Day One is still a gamble, but since when was gambling the standard to aspire to in managing your affairs?

Houseman:

altnameJag:

Videogames are a privilege, therefore people complaining about censorship can fuck right off.

I mean, if we want to pretend "it's a privilege" is a refutation of anything.

So you're making an analogy between censorship and early reviews?

Okay then. If this is your argument,

Nope, stop, hold on. Is English your native language? I have to ask. I'm sarcastically making fun of the non-argument you're presenting as a refutation.

Simple question: What positives are we, the consumers of Bethesda games, going to experience from this desicion? What positive trade off are we getting in exchange for losing launch week information?

Wrex Brogan:
...huh, you know, I can't really remember the last time I've had an internet discussion that basically boils down to 'I agree with you, I just focus on this part instead of this part'. [...]

...now I feel we should start trading insults or something before the forum implodes. This place wasn't built for agreement, I feel, at least given the shit-flinging I've se- well, ok, the shit-flinging going on in this very thread. Goodness.

I think my biggest tip for anyone who wants to have a productive conversation on the internet (and maybe even in general) would be this: mention all of the things you agree with FIRST, because then you can move on to the other parts you still don't agree about and where discussion might actually bear some fruit, and you've also created some good common ground to decrease the likelihood of shit-flinging. And really, unless one of person in the discussion is completely radical (in which case you might just back off anyway) then chances are you agree about a ton of things, and it's the details or approach that might require some exchanging of thoughts.

runic knight:
I would love for the gaming publishers immoral antics to be called out and clamped down on, but unless the information is accurately and reliably spread, they wont be. To that end, separation between press and publisher would have to be the first step to decrease the control over them. That may well need to include the privileges the press has enjoyed thus far in early releases and review copies, especially when the threat of having those removed is seen as so damning to the press in the first place. They have let things like early reviews and early review exclusivity help create the culture in the gaming world that fosters pre-orders and contributes to the publishers getting away with anti-consumer practices. Reversing that could be a good start in my eyes.

Alright, so if I understand this right, your reasoning (or part of it) for why early review copies shouldn't be handed out is because it will indirectly also combat the pre-order culture as well as the overly tight relationship between press and publisher? I consider that a bit optimistic, but I do hope you're right. I still don't think losing access to early reviews is a net benefit for the people who are going to pre-order anyway, but if you're thinking in the long term development of the industry...who knows.

altnameJag:

Simple question: What positives are we, the consumers of Bethesda games, going to experience from this desicion? What positive trade off are we getting in exchange for losing launch week information?

I don't know. Probably nothing. Bethesda hasn't fully revealed why they made this move, and seeing that Bethesda is a business, the move was probably made in their best interest, not necessarily ours. Are you saying that any action that is not taken in the consumer's best interest is "anti-consumer"?

starbear:

Consumers have the information that the company selling the information has released.

Consumers also may have pre-knowledge of who developed the game.

So that is two things, not one thing, that consumers might use to make a purchasing decision, correct?

I said "The only information about a game, before it's release..."

Technically, one's past experiences with the developer does not count as "knowledge about a game". It's still something that consumers could use to make a purchasing decision, but let's not mix the tallies up.

So Bethesda didn't make an announcement back in June this year that they were remastering Skyrim? That trailer they released at E3, that didn't actually happen?

Are you implying that advertisement/marketing affects sentiment? I believe I've already went over why I don't think this is true, have I not? Are you just ignoring what I see as a divide between what 1st parties say and what the "general sentiment" is?

If what you assert were true then you are on the fast-track to being a millionaire. Go pick up the phone and start calling Bethesda and EA and Ubisoft and tell them "they are doing their marketing wrong."

If they were ever trying to control the "general sentiment" through trailers and announcements, then yes they were most assuredly doing it wrong. However, I doubt this was their intent.

And to think that the gaming industry is going to be saved by someone who didn't even know what the "No Mans Sky" controversy was all about.

You asked me if I knew what the general sentiment was towards NMS, not if I knew what the controversy was all about. Please don't confuse the two.

Its relevant because you are asserting that consumers knowledgeable about the developers of Skyrim is the ONLY thing that created general sentiment. I think that assertion is so wildly out of whack I think you should back it up. But you can't back it up. You don't know the numbers.

You still haven't explained how the numbers are necessary for my argument to have a basis.

Consider a hypothetical: Intel are the only ones who make Intel-branded processors. Without Intel, new Intel-banded processors would not exist. How many processors do they make? I don't know. Does that mean that my claims are wrong, and that Intel does not make processors? No, of course not, that would be silly. Not knowing how many Intel processors they produce has no bearing on the fact that they DO produce processors, and that they are the ONLY ones capable of producing a specific type of processor.

So it is with this argument. It's silly to state that, just because I don't know how many individuals are contributing to the "general sentiment" of the Skyrim re-release, that I am somehow wrong when I state that they DO contribute to it.

I'm well aware of what "time will tell" means. Which is why I asked the question.

I don't see how the question follows from the phrase, but it's no big deal.

What is going to change in the future that isn't directly applicable now?

I can't see the future, so I don't know.

Why do we have to wait when examples like No Mans Sky have already happened that explicitly show that this change has been bad for the consumer?

Oh, is THAT the reason why NMS was bad for the consumer? Because the reviews were relatively delayed? Funny, I thought it was because Hello Games lied about the existence of certain features.

Houseman:

altnameJag:

Simple question: What positives are we, the consumers of Bethesda games, going to experience from this desicion? What positive trade off are we getting in exchange for losing launch week information?

I don't know. Probably nothing. Bethesda hasn't fully revealed why they made this move, and seeing that Bethesda is a business, the move was probably made in their best interest, not necessarily ours. Are you saying that any action that is not taken in the consumer's best interest is "anti-consumer"?

Well, if the customer is losing something without gaining something else in return, and that something directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming...

...yeah. Yeah I do.

Houseman:

I said "The only information about a game, before it's release..."

Technically, one's past experiences with the developer does not count as "knowledge about a game". It's still something that consumers could use to make a purchasing decision, but let's not mix the tallies up.

So that is two things, not one thing. Glad you cleared that up.

So Bethesda didn't make an announcement back in June this year that they were remastering Skyrim? That trailer they released at E3, that didn't actually happen?

Are you implying that advertisement/marketing affects sentiment? I believe I've already went over why I don't think this is true, have I not? Are you just ignoring what I see as a divide between what 1st parties say and what the "general sentiment" is?

I'm not implying it. I'm telling you that yes, marketing affects sentiment. If you don't agree with that: then we will add "general sentiment" to "marketing" and "advertising" and "privilege" and "refutation" to common english words that you seem to have a unique personal definition of.

If what you assert were true then you are on the fast-track to being a millionaire. Go pick up the phone and start calling Bethesda and EA and Ubisoft and tell them "they are doing their marketing wrong."

If they were ever trying to control the "general sentiment" through trailers and announcements, then yes they were most assuredly doing it wrong. However, I doubt this was their intent.

Well give them a call. I'd love to hear what they have to say when you tell them that they are doing it wrong.

And to think that the gaming industry is going to be saved by someone who didn't even know what the "No Mans Sky" controversy was all about.

You asked me if I knew what the general sentiment was towards NMS, not if I knew what the controversy was all about. Please don't confuse the two.

Can you stop playing games?

This is what you said.

"I was never interested in it, and thus, didn't follow anything about it."

Don't pretend now that you actually did follow No Mans Sky when you've already stated that you didn't. I'm not confusing jack shit. I'm taking you at your word. If you are now telling me that you actually did follow NMS after claiming that you didn't, then your word means nothing.

Its relevant because you are asserting that consumers knowledgeable about the developers of Skyrim is the ONLY thing that created general sentiment. I think that assertion is so wildly out of whack I think you should back it up. But you can't back it up. You don't know the numbers.

You still haven't explained how the numbers are necessary for my argument to have a basis.

Because you DON'T HAVE ANY BASIS. An argument must have some sort of foundation.

Your claim is that in the absence of 3rd parties, consumers only rely on "their past experiences from the developer" to make a decision to buy at launch: and this is the only way that consumers make their decisions.

This is clearly a testable claim. One of the ways we can test your claim is to determine how many consumers rely on past experiences from the developer to make their decision to purchase at launch. If the number of consumers is in anyway lower than 100%: then your claim fails.

You have stated you don't know how many consumers rely on past experiences from the developer to make their decision to purchase at launch. So lets not use the consumer numbers to prove your claim. You can use something else. So go ahead and use whatever metrics you like to prove your claim.

Consider a hypothetical: Intel are the only ones who make Intel-branded processors. Without Intel, new Intel-banded processors would not exist. How many processors do they make? I don't know. Does that mean that my claims are wrong, and that Intel does not make processors? No, of course not, that would be silly. Not knowing how many Intel processors they produce has no bearing on the fact that they DO produce processors, and that they are the ONLY ones capable of producing a specific type of processor.

How about this hypothetical. You claim the moon is made of cheese. "What kind of cheese?" I ask. You respond that you don't know.

Does that mean the moon is made of cheese? Fuck no.

Lets not consider a hypothetical. Why don't we just consider the words you actually said?

So it is with this argument. It's silly to state that, just because I don't know how many individuals are contributing to the "general sentiment" of the Skyrim re-release, that I am somehow wrong when I state that they DO contribute to it.

No it isn't: and I've explained why.

I'm well aware of what "time will tell" means. Which is why I asked the question.

I don't see how the question follows from the phrase, but it's no big deal.

That isn't my fault.

What is going to change in the future that isn't directly applicable now?

I can't see the future, so I don't know.

But there isn't any need to wait. Thats a cop out. We've seen what happens when reviews are delayed. We have the empirical data. Why do you choose to ignore that and post a wishy washy cop out answer instead?

Why do we have to wait when examples like No Mans Sky have already happened that explicitly show that this change has been bad for the consumer?

Oh, is THAT the reason why NMS was bad for the consumer? Because the reviews were relatively delayed? Funny, I thought it was because Hello Games lied about the existence of certain features.

And we only found out about those lies after people bought the game and started to play it. If the reviews weren't "relatively delayed", when do you think the consumer would have found out about these lies?

altnameJag:
Well, if the customer is losing something without gaining something else in return, and that something directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming...

...yeah. Yeah I do.

So let's see if you're consistent about this viewpoint by testing it with a hypothetical.

Suppose, in a fit of insanity, that Game Informer starts giving out it's magazines for free. Several years later, they suddenly stop, and decide to charge for their magazines. Is this an anti-consumer move?

With this scenario, the customer is:

1) Losing something without gaining something else in return
2) This directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming, assuming that previews, reviews, pre-release reviews and game journalism are still found within the pages of the magazine.

So is this an anti-consumer move? If not, does that mean that your stance needs revision? If my hypothetical is somehow flawed, how so?

Fat Hippo:

runic knight:
I would love for the gaming publishers immoral antics to be called out and clamped down on, but unless the information is accurately and reliably spread, they wont be. To that end, separation between press and publisher would have to be the first step to decrease the control over them. That may well need to include the privileges the press has enjoyed thus far in early releases and review copies, especially when the threat of having those removed is seen as so damning to the press in the first place. They have let things like early reviews and early review exclusivity help create the culture in the gaming world that fosters pre-orders and contributes to the publishers getting away with anti-consumer practices. Reversing that could be a good start in my eyes.

Alright, so if I understand this right, your reasoning (or part of it) for why early review copies shouldn't be handed out is because it will indirectly also combat the pre-order culture as well as the overly tight relationship between press and publisher? I consider that a bit optimistic, but I do hope you're right. I still don't think losing access to early reviews is a net benefit for the people who are going to pre-order anyway, but if you're thinking in the long term development of the industry...who knows.

Pretty close there, yeah. In an ideal world, the journalists would be a force trustworthy enough to demand early review copies as watchdogs for the interests of the consumers and thereby make preordering continue as it does now, just with more audience trust in the matter. In reality, the media isn't very pro-consumer, and things that should help them serve the consumer expectations are instead ropes used to bind them to the companies they are suppose to be impartial about. The loss of early reviews is not good for pre-orderers, but such reviews even currently are not all that useful when the press is so closely tied to the companies in the first place. The loss of them all together might well be needed to deconstruct the culture of preorders and the hype machine, and while an unfortunate loss of privledge there would seem to weaken the journalist's ability to do their duty in a timely manner, it would also help remove them from the noose those review copies, and the threat of having them taken away, has become. If review copies have been weaponized by publishers so that the loss of them is seen as a detriment, then the threat of loss can be used to sway opinions and affect decisions. That is bad for the consumers as it undermines the journalist's responsibility and duty and should be discarded all together rather than allowed to keep influencing that.

starbear:

So that is two things, not one thing. Glad you cleared that up.

Yes, two bits of information that consumers could use to inform their purchases.

I'm not implying it. I'm telling you that yes, marketing affects sentiment.

See post #66. I've already told you why I disagree with this.

Can you stop playing games?

I thought you would appreciate my being specific about words, seeing as you refuse to bend on "Marketing vs Advertisement".

Don't pretend now that you actually did follow No Mans Sky

I'm not. I'm simply saying that I am aware of the controversy.

Following the game and being aware of the controversy are two different things.

If anything, you could say that I'm following the controversy, which only begun to exist after launch.

Because you DON'T HAVE ANY BASIS. An argument must have some sort of foundation.

Your claim is that in the absence of 3rd parties, consumers only rely on "their past experiences from the developer" to make a decision to buy at launch: and this is the only way that consumers make their decisions.

This is clearly a testable claim. One of the ways we can test your claim is to determine how many consumers rely on past experiences from the developer to make their decision to purchase at launch.

I don't see how that logic follows.

"People rely on X to make purchasing decisions. To prove this, anyone should be able to point out exactly how many people relied on X to make their purchasing decision. You there! Random guy on the street! Yes you! Exactly how many people relied on X when making a decision to purchase product Y? You don't know? Well then, the claim is disproven!"

Yeah, that doesn't make any sense.

So lets not use the consumer numbers to prove your claim. You can use something else. So go ahead and use whatever metrics you like to prove your claim.

I've already provided a basis by way of there being nothing else that people could possibly rely on. Before you say it, no, information from the company is not something that can be relied upon (see also: lies)

Lets not consider a hypothetical.

Well, that was your chance to disprove my argument, and you squandered it. I've provided a basis for my side of the argument, and you refused to refute it. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm correct, it just means that it stands uncontested.

But there isn't any need to wait. Thats a cop out. We've seen what happens when reviews are delayed. We have the empirical data.

Do we now? Well then, by all means, provide it.

And we only found out about those lies after people bought the game and started to play it.

The lies were a problem all on their own. Reviews wouldn't have changed the fact that they lied. The problem was not the lack of reviews, but rather, that the lies were spoken. There would have been a backlash either way. The only difference is when the backlash would have happened.

Houseman:

altnameJag:
Well, if the customer is losing something without gaining something else in return, and that something directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming...

...yeah. Yeah I do.

So let's see if you're consistent about this viewpoint by testing it with a hypothetical.

Suppose, in a fit of insanity, that Game Informer starts giving out it's magazines for free. Several years later, they suddenly stop, and decide to charge for their magazines. Is this an anti-consumer move?

With this scenario, the customer is:

1) Losing something without gaining something else in return
2) This directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming, assuming that previews, reviews, pre-release reviews and game journalism are still found within the pages of the magazine.

So is this an anti-consumer move? If not, does that mean that your stance needs revision? If my hypothetical is somehow flawed, how so?

Super flawed. The people restricting information about the game aren't the people selling the game. Unless a publisher gives exclusive reviews to Game Informer, GameStop can take a flying leap if the increase in price if its product doesn't include an upgrade in service.

Now, if I could trouble you to answer a question for the first time in three pages, how is "game company doesn't give information out to the public in time for launch unless it's through vetted shills" not anti-consumer?

Houseman:

starbear:

So that is two things, not one thing. Glad you cleared that up.

Yes, two bits of information that consumers could use to inform their purchases.

Your claim was there was only one. Now we are at two.

I'm not implying it. I'm telling you that yes, marketing affects sentiment.

See post #66. I've already told you why I disagree with this.

Well no you haven't. You took a word I introduced into our conversation(narrative), decided that the way I had used it in context was not to your satisfaction, then arbitrarily stated that it meant something other than what I intended it to say then stubbonly dug your heels in and refused to listen to anything I subsequently said on the topic.

So since then I have simply not used the word "narrative." Because that obviously means something different to you than it does to me. So why are you refering me to post 66 which talks about narrative, when I'm telling you that marketing affects sentiment, which has nothing to do with the word "narrative?"

Can you stop playing games?

I thought you would appreciate my being specific about words, seeing as you refuse to bend on "Marketing vs Advertisement".

I couldn't bend on "Marketing vs Advertisement" even if I wanted too. I can't arbitrarily invent new meanings for commonly used words.

Don't pretend now that you actually did follow No Mans Sky

I'm not. I'm simply saying that I am aware of the controversy.

Following the game and being aware of the controversy are two different things.

If anything, you could say that I'm following the controversy, which only begun to exist after launch.

I no longer take you at your word: and you were either making stuff up before or you are making stuff up now.

Because you DON'T HAVE ANY BASIS. An argument must have some sort of foundation.

Your claim is that in the absence of 3rd parties, consumers only rely on "their past experiences from the developer" to make a decision to buy at launch: and this is the only way that consumers make their decisions.

This is clearly a testable claim. One of the ways we can test your claim is to determine how many consumers rely on past experiences from the developer to make their decision to purchase at launch.

I don't see how that logic follows.

"People rely on X to make purchasing decisions. To prove this, anyone should be able to point out exactly how many people relied on X to make their purchasing decision. You there! Random guy on the street! Yes you! Exactly how many people relied on X when making a decision to purchase product Y? You don't know? Well then, the claim is disproven!"

People rely on lots of things to make purchasing decisions.

Your claim is that they don't rely on lots of things to make purchasing decisions.

Your claim is that people rely on a SINGLE thing to make their purchasing decision, and no other factors influence purchasing decisions at launch at all.

I think that claim is ridiculous. But it is possible to test your ridiculous claim. We only need to find one person who made a purchasing decision using different criteria to your claim to make your claim false. And as I have purchased games before in the past based on the marketing alone and not based on my past experiences from the developer, then that single piece of anecdotal evidence alone demolishes your claim.

Yeah, that doesn't make any sense.

I'm glad to see you are finally starting to see that your claim was nonsense.

So lets not use the consumer numbers to prove your claim. You can use something else. So go ahead and use whatever metrics you like to prove your claim.

I've already provided a basis by way of there being nothing else that people could possibly rely on. Before you say it, no, information from the company is not something that can be [i]relied/[i] upon (see also: lies)

That wasn't what I was asking. The original question was "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?"

Your answer was "Their past experiences from the developer. Besides that, nothing."

I'm asking you to prove this assertion. That consumers, in the absence of 3rd parties, will only rely on their past experiences with the developer and nothing else to make a decision to buy at launch. I'm asking for how you came to that conclusion and what evidence you have to support it.

Lets not consider a hypothetical.

Well, that was your chance to disprove my argument, and you squandered it. I've provided a basis for my side of the argument, and you refused to refute it. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm correct, it just means that it stands uncontested.

I've already disproved your argument.

But there isn't any need to wait. Thats a cop out. We've seen what happens when reviews are delayed. We have the empirical data.

Do we now? Well then, by all means, provide it.

http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/11/7193415/assassins-creed-unity-review-embargo

That was two years ago. Ubisoft released a buggy, flawed game. The embargo meant that the bad reviews were held back until after people had bought the game.

And we only found out about those lies after people bought the game and started to play it.

The lies were a problem all on their own. Reviews wouldn't have changed the fact that they lied. The problem was not the lack of reviews, but rather, that the lies were spoken. There would have been a backlash either way. The only difference is when the backlash would have happened.

This is disingenuous. The backlash isn't the point. Its about the money. If people knew that there were many promised features not in the final game they wouldn't have spent money on it.

altnameJag:

Houseman:

altnameJag:
Well, if the customer is losing something without gaining something else in return, and that something directly relates to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming...

So let's see if you're consistent about this viewpoint by testing it with a hypothetical...

Super flawed. The people restricting information about the game aren't the people selling the game.

You didn't mention anything about a people "restricting" information being the same people selling the game. You only mentioned two points:

1) The customer losing something without gaining something else in return
and
2) that something directly relating to making informed decisions about the thing they're consuming.

Because of that, I made a hypothetical that only hit those two points.

So now you're adding a third requirement?

3) The people restricting information must be the same people selling the product.

Okay then, I can work with that...

Let's say a game company gives out demos of their releases, where you can play the full game for an hour, then they suddenly stop doing this. Is this anti-consumer?

Now, if I could trouble you to answer a question for the first time in three pages, how is "game company doesn't give information out to the public in time for launch unless it's through vetted shills" not anti-consumer?

I don't have the burden of proof here. I'm not the one who needs to disprove the claim that something is anti-consumer. I didn't make the claim. You made the claim, so you're the one who needs to prove the argument.

Plus, where did "vetted shills" come from? Is Bethesda doing this? I thought that was only EA?

EDIT: spelling errors

Houseman:

Because I that, I made a hypothetical that only hit those two points.

Your hypothetical is fundamentally flawed because of this sentence here:

"Suppose, in a fit of insanity, that Game Informer starts giving out it's magazines for free."

Games Magazines don't give out their magazines for free for a simple reason: it would be insane. There isn't a sane business case to be made to give out magazines for free. You admit this.

Games Companies do provide free review game copies. This is a cost of doing business for them: games reviewers are part of the overall marketing strategy for most games companies so providing reviewers with free games makes perfect sense.

A consumer, as typically defined, is a "person who purchases goods and services for personal use." In your hypothetical: the person who receives the free magazine is not a consumer: they are just a person who gets a free magazine. It isn't anti-consumer to stop giving someone who isn't a consumer something for free.

The games reviewers who receive the "free" games are not consumers either. They are game reviewers. Not getting games to review before release has no affect on the reviewer, apart from maybe a few less eyeballs on their websites.

The people who are affected are the consumers: who in some cases need to make the decision between buying a game early and getting pre-order bonuses that won't be available after the reviews come out, or missing out on those pre-order bonuses.

starbear:

Your claim was there was only one. Now we are at two.

No, there's only one thing that customers can rely on, in the absense of reviews: their past experiences with the developer.

I never said that information from the company could be relied upon.

Well no you haven't. You took a word I introduced into our conversation(narrative), decided that the way I had used it in context was not to your satisfaction, then arbitrarily stated that it meant something other than what I intended it to say then stubbonly dug your heels in and refused to listen to anything I subsequently said on the topic.

So since then I have simply not used the word "narrative." Because that obviously means something different to you than it does to me. So why are you refering me to post 66 which talks about narrative, when I'm telling you that marketing affects sentiment, which has nothing to do with the word "narrative?"

Using different words to express the same idea doesn't actually change anything. Words exist to express ideas. Call it "narrative". Call it "sentiment", call it "Florpglorp". You mean the same thing. That idea that you keep expressing is the same one that I have been objecting to this whole time.

Unless of course you're saying that you switched topics from "narrative" to "sentiment", conceding the argument for the former...

I no longer take you at your word:

Okay.

Your claim is that they don't rely on lots of things to make purchasing decisions.

My claim is that they have nothing reliable to make a purchasing decision with, other than past experiences, in the absense of reviews.

That wasn't what I was asking. The original question was "In the absence of 3rd parties, what do consumers have to rely on in order to make a decision to buy at launch?"

Your answer was "Their past experiences from the developer. Besides that, nothing."

Yep.

I'm asking you to prove this assertion

You want me to prove that what companies say about their products isn't reliable? Is that accurate?

http://www.polygon.com/2014/11/11/7193415/assassins-creed-unity-review-embargo

That was two years ago. Ubisoft released a buggy, flawed game. The embargo meant that the bad reviews were held back until after people had bought the game.

So now, what do you mean by "this is what happens?"
Are you saying that "this is what will always happen?"
That "this is what will often happen?"
That "this is what will occasionally happen?"
That "this is what will rarely happen?"

Which of these claims are you trying to demonstrate the truth of with this one example?

I mean, I can show you an example of a fatal vehicle accident and say "this is what happens when one gets behind the wheel of a car", and it wouldn't exactly be meaningful.

So how is your statement meaningful?

This is disingenuous. The backlash isn't the point. Its about the money. If people knew that there were many promised features not in the final game they wouldn't have spent money on it.

"People" is a vague group. Which people? The people that watched the announcement trailer, and then put down $60 on a pre-order? The people who don't read reviews? The people who have the good sense to wait until reviews come out before even thinking about buying a game? The people who are knowledgeable about all the reasons why you shouldn't pre-order games, but still threw caution to the wind and did so anyway?

Which vague group of "people" are you referring to?

starbear:

Your hypothetical is fundamentally flawed because of this sentence here:

"Suppose, in a fit of insanity, that Game Informer starts giving out it's magazines for free."

Games Magazines don't give out their magazines for free for a simple reason: it would be insane.

Hypotheticals often include fantastical or unrealistic elements. Being able to point out the unrealistic bits doesn't actually disprove the point being made.

What's important in logical reasoning is whether or not the conclusion follows from the premises.

My hypothetical hit all the premises of his argument. Game Informer not being insane was not a premise, therefore, you pointing out that this is not "realistic" is irrelevant.

Houseman:

So now you're adding a third requirement?

What, are you allergic to nuance? Yes, if I talk about cars and I stop mentioning bad things about cars, it's not anti-consumer unless I'm advertising for cars. Unless you're my consumer. Jesus wept.

3) The people restricting information must be the same people selling the product.

Or in a position of having an exclusive relationship, yeah.

Okay then, I can work with that...

Let's say a game company gives out demos of their releases, where you can play the full game for an hour, then they suddenly stop doing this. Is this anti-consumer?

Unless consumers are getting something in return, yeah.

Now, if I could trouble you to answer a question for the first time in three pages, how is "game company doesn't give information out to the public in time for launch unless it's through vetted shills" not anti-consumer?

I don't have the burden of proof here. I'm not the one who needs to disprove the claim that something is anti-consumer. I didn't make the claim. You made the claim, so you're the one who needs to prove the argument.

Of, so we aren't debating then? You're dead set against making a case for anything?

Plus, where did "vetted shills" come from? Is Bethesda doing this? I thought that was only EA?

Hey, accurate information about games at launch is a privilege, remember? Going by your logic, EA or WB pulling that shit's not anti-consumer either.

Houseman:

Hypotheticals often include fantastical or unrealistic elements. Being able to point out the unrealistic bits doesn't actually disprove the point being made.

Bad hypotheticals do. Good, useful hypotheticals try to, at the very least, try to compare similar situations.

What's important in logical reasoning is whether or not the conclusion follows from the premises.

Less information at launch leads to consumers being less informed, leading to more Assassin's Creed: Unitys, more Sonic Booms, more Aliens: Colonial Marines. Seems logical to me.

altnameJag:

Unless consumers are getting something in return, yeah.

Okay. That, to me, sounds ridiculous.

Some companies go through effort of making demo disks to fit between the covers of magazines (remember those days? Good times), or are willing to pay the bandwidth costs to have the internet at large download a demo, and if they take that away, for any reason, they're anti-consumer?

Demos prove too financially costly, so they axe the practice? Anti-consumer?
Time-crunched, so no demo this time around? Anti-consumer?
Just sick and tired of the hassle, and would rather spend the time making a better game? Anti-consumer?

Of, so we aren't debating then? You're dead set against making a case for anything?

You're making a claim. I'm arguing against this claim. Is this not a debate?

Hey, accurate information about games at launch is a privilege, remember? Going by your logic, EA or WB pulling that shit's not anti-consumer either.

1) You didn't answer my questions. Where are you getting "vetted shills" from? Is Bethesda doing this?
2) No, review copies are themselves privileges. What follows is free speech, which is a constitutional right.

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